Animating your research: producing impactful social media content

Posted on: 15 March 2024 by Dr. Mhairi Towler (Number of words: 295; Read time: 1 minute, 28 seconds) in Blog posts

Portrait of Mhairi Towler
Dr. Mhairi Towler

Dr. Mhairi Towler, Founder and Director of the animation production company, Vivomotion, discusses developing a visual narrative about your research using animation.

‘A picture is worth 1000 words’ - if true, then a moving picture must be worth more. Animation as a medium for conveying research stories is a powerful communication tool, allowing complex information to be made accessible to specialists and non-specialists alike.

My name is Dr. Mhairi Towler, and I started my career as a researcher in life sciences. I was lucky enough to collaborate with an artist which helped me to broaden my horizons and think about other ways to present my research to reach a new audience, not necessarily a scientific one.

This project led me to explore diverse ways to visualise my research, and animation piqued my interest as one way to do this.  I re-trained in animation and visualisation and set up a business Vivomotion, to help scientists convey their concepts to various audiences using animation and graphics.

The image is a still from an animation created for Dr Barbara Nicholl and Prof. Sara Macdonald at The University of Glasgow on the topic of persistent pain caused by arthritis. They used it to communicate their research findings with their patient groups.  It shows a patient who is suffering from multiple conditions and has persistent pain.

The workshop I will be running on, ‘Animating your research: producing impactful social media content’ as part of the, ‘Making an Impact 2024’ programme at The University of Liverpool, will cover the groundwork involved in creating a short 2D animation about your research topic, regardless of which discipline you work in. Visual storytelling, what to include in your script, voiceover production, storyboarding, and software for animation will all be explored.

If you want to develop your animation skills and visual communication of research, then come along to this online session ( I look forward to working together to develop a visual narrative of your research that can be shared on social media.

Feedback from a previous participant, ‘Mhairi’s workshop is the first I have attended that focuses on both the content and the form in which you should present your findings to make sure they get noticed and are well understood by others. 

About the author

Mhairi Towler integrates a background in science with animation skills to use visuals to communicate science to a wide audience. Mhairi earned a Biochemistry degree and a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Dundee.  She carried out postdoctoral work, both in San Francisco and Dundee.  She was a founder member and Co-chair of the College of Life Sciences Postdoctoral Association. During her time as a postdoc, she also completed a postgraduate certificate in teaching and learning in higher education and recognised the importance of the visual as a cognitive tool.  She completed a Masters in Animation and Visualisation at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee in 2012 to become a scientific visualisation practitioner.   

Mhairi is the Founder and Director of the multi-award-winning animation production company, Vivomotion (  The company offers a service of bespoke animations for scientific communication as well as training workshops for postgraduate researchers and academic staff on the visual communication of research. She hosts the podcast ‘Opportunities in Science’, which highlights career options after completing a science degree.

Further Reading

Vivomotion Showreel 2022 on Vimeo